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I am going to start this off with I could be in the wrong forum.  If I am let me know and I will delete the post.

A Clarkstown, NY police detective contact me, known him for a few years to let me know his father passed and he was going to stop by. Well he did and said here are 30 plus boxes of my fathers trains, I can’t sell them but I want you too.

i have no idea where to start but I can tell you that 90 percent was made between 1935 and 1955. For example, loose in a box was a 1689W Lionel Lines tender, a 1666 engine trying to find the lender, 6 red lines lines 1690 cars, a Lionel 6-12969 Trainmaster Command Sets, tons of building, old, semi old, new etc. in addition, I found the Danbury Mint 2001 NY Yankees / NY Mets Subway Series display. Plus 3 slightly used Ready to Run Sets, Lionel Coast Guard Set, 6-11995, K Line’s Anheuser- Busch item 1521 Ready to Run Set, the 1995 ShopRite Express HO Ready to Run Set and the Lionel 6-32930 ZW with 2 180 Watt bricks. Plus a whole host of modem cars and more.

So here are a few pictures. I need a plan and could use help so if you are in the Northern, NJ area and want to take a peak ping me.



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Original Post


You are a member of the NJ HiRailers, notify fellow members and ask if they can use any of the items.  Ask them to make a reasonable offer.  Do you have authority to accept offers or are you only the middle man?  Selling them piece by piece is going to take a lot of personal time as well as calendar time.  Where are you going to get packaging material to protect the individual items if you mail them to buyers one or two at a time?  Start collecting boxes or order 'Shoe Boxes' from the USPS.  Inventory the lot and set up a record keeping system.  It doesn't need to be fancy, a yellow tablet and pencil work fine. You could list some in LCCA's The Interchange Track, next publication cut off date is about five weeks from now.


Last edited by rattler21

Hi John,

Sent an email to the club and no reasonable offers will be refused. I have the authority to sell it all, and their is a lot. I don’t have a handle on the pricing for older items so I just ordered the 2020 Price Guide. 

My plan is to make small lots and send it off with the caveats you own it when you buy it. The cars are actually in very decent condition for their age and use. There are lots of cool items, some with box’s which are in decent shape from their mage. Fragile but cool and many have the Madison Hardware Label still on them.

it will be a challenge and I plan to be done in 4-6 weeks max, after that what’s left hits the garbage.

Thanks for the input, it is appreciated.


Last edited by PSU1980

This question frequently comes up on the forum. Unfortunately, it’s one of those topics that’s harder to find because of how the question is phrased. But here’s a summary of advice that has been offered.

— Sell each item individually or as lots on eBay, which you can also use to find past auctions to help you determine the going price.

— Find an auction house, such as Stout Auctions, to help sell the entire collection. Stout will suggest the expected sale price as part of the listing, but bidders determine the actual final price.

— Sell the collection to a local hobby shop that sells used toy trains. Note, you’ll get roughly 25 to 35 percent of the value for those items collectively to give the dealer room to make enough money to make the acquisition worthwhile.

— Contact about acquiring or help in selling the collection. Same scenarios. If Trainz buys it all, the price you get will be in the 25 percent range. If it is your sale, you can set the price for each item, from which Trainz takes a cut, but the process will be slower. (Note, Trainz has gone to a buy-it-now format now, so it doesn’t truly auction items on its eBay store anymore.)

There have been other ideas, but the above covers the more practical ones, as far as I can recall.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the suggestions. What I have found is a lot of very old items dating back to the late 30's or early 40's all the way up to like 2018. Many of the older items have boxes but are in only OK condition. Was able to sell the Lionel 6-32930 ZW with 2 180 Watt bricks to a local kid looking for power. The ZW is in decent shape, has a box but that's beat up, but complete.

I am going to try to make a list and post it on the forum and see what happens. Unfortunately, the last local shop is closed as the owner, Al of the Old & Weary Train Shop just passed. Nothing near me for 20 miles.

Thanks again,


@PSU1980 posted:

... I don’t have a handle on the pricing for older items so I just ordered the 2020 Price Guide. ...

Don't believe any price guide.  Find similar SOLD items on ebay to get an idea of current prices.

Common postwar values have dropped like a rock in the past several years, unless an item is truly mint - based on the pics, that's not the case here.  MPC is even worse. 

I wish you the best of luck helping your friend.  Hope he understands that very few old trains are valuable. 

Tin Plate,

I have not finished going through everything yet. I know there are 2 complete 3 cars sets that are marked 1590 and 1591. 1591 is the observation car, 2 of them and 4 1590’s. I believe Lionel offered 2 1590 & 1 1591 as the set however I cant find anything on them. For their age, they are in good shape just need TLC. I believe the engine and tender are some where in all the boxes.

Only standard gauge so far has been signals and cross bucks. See pictures.

Took me 5 hours to reduce all of it to about 10 boxes of which 2 are all really old items which I plan to go through over the next few days.

i will post a list once done and the no reasonable offer plus shipping will be refused.




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Last edited by PSU1980


LOL on the inventory list. Taken hours to just open boxes. 

For the most part I tossed out probably 75% of the item as it was truly junk. Old track, old transformers, tons of trees, vehicles, broken building. 5 big 50 gallons trash cans are at the curb.

I kept the switches and controllers and will just offer them up once I get a count. 

HO items

I have started with the HO stuff, all boxed up for you to look at. Should have that at the club  by Saturday am.

This morning I found a Danbury Mint US Navy Set, complete with track, transformer, 6-7 cars, AB unit. The A unit Horn is off, but in the box and needs a new coupler. Other than that it’s really nice. No ideas what it’s worth if anything. I will take pictures and post or you can see if it interests you.

 Now the O Scale

Many, most of it is “old.” They don’t have boxes so I have to do some research to see what they are then take pictures and post. 

The ones in boxes will be easy.  The Ready To Run Sets are nice. Good starter sets. Probably going to take them to a hobby shop, provided I can find one locally and still in business.

It is unfortunate that they didn’t pack the stuff up a little better and more organized.

Bottom line, just trying to help James out.




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